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Where is the Best Free Camping Spot in Queensland?

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published August 10th 2018
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Care-free camping


Brisbane's warm weather opens up iconic entertainment, tempting visitors from the chilly southern states to flood our streets. Queensland has hundreds of camping sites, speckled with florescent tents as locals flee for flora-filled adventures.

While theme parks on the Gold Coast and multiplex cinemas pry digital dollars with a pay wave, free camping spots throughout the Sunshine State invite discovery of nature's beauty.

These 5 choices are ideal for visitors with 2WD cars. They are wheelchair accessible and have toilet facilities. They welcome caravans and tents. Best of all? The camping is free.

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Queensland campfires


While these sites are free, you can choose the intensity. For somewhere to sleep, some prefer a caravan, others love mastering the Ikea skills (minus allen keys) of pitching a tent.

Room service is rare on a campsite, but crisp, fresh water flowing along waterfalls, streams, rivers, creeks and beaches is much more refreshing than tepid bottled water. If you're new to camping, what are some the pleasures to look forward to?

Pleasures
- Unplug. Without powerpoints and wi-fi, you won't be swamped with Facebook invites from Kevin Rudd.

- Healthy living. Ignore the late night infomercials. Exercise doesn't need gawdy machines and plastic attachments to get fit 'in the comfort of your own home'. Hiking, climbing and canoeing will immerse you in a spectacular environment where you're guaranteed a healthy glow.

- Real meals with real people. Fast-food tempts us to veg out in front of the TV but sitting around a campfire, enjoying a wood-fired pizza, a hearty roast dinner cooked over hot coals, or grilled fish caught from a nearby river, fills an appetite that buckets of fries can't reach.

- Eye-watering beauty. The serenity, clean air, and night sky alive with starlight replace the city's inane gossip, blaring televisions, traffic smog and neon lights. Treasure these moments to sustain you on your return to 'the big smoke'.

- Channel your inner Bindy Irwin, Outback Jack or Bear Grylls in authentic surroundings.

- Conquer life without the mod cons to really appreciate society's innovations. You'll grin with proud glee, proud at conquering nature (or at least taming it).


Excited to disappear (temporarily) into the wilderness? Ready to earn your girl guide/boy scout campcraft badge? Start with these 5 free campsites in national parks around Queensland:

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Rafting in Queensland


Along Cooyar Creek, you can pitch tents or park caravans beside a suspension bridge in this campsite.

The creek is ideal for swimming, canoeing and fishing. Visit nearby Cooyar Hotel on Fergus St if you're desperate for supplies, a quick drink or a hot shower.

Cook a feast on the wood barbecues or go back to basics with a campfire to boil your drinking water.

Look overhead for grey-headed flying-foxes in Palms National Park, flowering with a mix of piccabeen palms and strangler figs, eucalypts and pine trees.

To reach the camp, head north from Toowoomba for 100km.


Babinda's Boulders, the giant stones forming a pool between a trio of streams, are a refreshing break from steamy heat.

Swim within the signposted waters of Devil's Pool to avoid being swept away though.

Share dinner over the gas barbecues.

Test your hiking limits on the Bartle Frere trail, slicing through the rugged forest of Bellenden Ker Range.

Plan your expedition and you'll ascent to the top of Queensland's highest peak, rewarded with spectacular views to the coast.

Head south from Cairns along the Bruce Highway to reach the Boulders.


Luxurious and free, just south-east of Glenden, this campsite has aquatic appeal.

Boating, fishing and water skiing are possible on this long lake.

The site is setup with amenities, including flushing toilets, showers and electric barbecues.


Head north along the Bruce Highway to Rollingstone to reach Bushy Parker.

The grounds are well-equipped, with shaded picnic tables, barbecues, toilets and showers.

Enjoy swimming nearby or relax in the shade of tall eucalypts surrounding the site, which mask the drone of truckers on the Bruce.


Follow the compass north on the Capricorn Highway, driving 30km past Blackwater.

Pick a shady spot for your tent before igniting one of the barbecues using the stack of firewood.

Take a hot shower before dinner, a fresh barramundi from the weir if they're biting.

While kids have fun in the playground, dogs are welcome if on leashes. Stay on Wednesday for the evening happy hour.


If you're craving lakes, caves, flora and fauna, you'll love these choices as much as the savvy campers making the annual pilgrimage. Where's your favourite campsite in Queensland? Please let us know with a comment.
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There are plenty of free places to camp up in North Queensland. One of our favourites was always on the banks of the Burdekin River. This river, like most in North Queensland, has two levels, the normal flow and the wet season flow. Because river banks are crown land, you can pretty much camp anywhere along a river, even if you have to cross private property to get the river bank.

In South East Queensland, there are few free camping sites. Sure, if you hike off into the bush somewhere you can probably setup camp at night and no one will be the wiser, but the small fee that you pay goes to maintaining those sites.

However one that I do know of in South East Queens is Wyralong Dam. This SEQWater run site has a couple of free camping sites. You can't book them, but they are first come, first serve. There are plans to upgrade these sites to make them more family friendly. Whether that will mean that they will start to attract a fee, I am not sure.
by Roy Chambers (score: 2|724) 823 days ago
Is that first picture in Queensland? Looks more like Victoria's alpine region or a Canadian lake.
by gretc (score: 1|22) 654 days ago

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